This week’s Mothering Sunday is expected to generate £1.6 billion for UK retailers, an increase of 6 per cent on 2007.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) estimates that£85 million worth of greeting cards will be sold. Flowers are expected to continue to be the gift of choice, with sales totalling£230 million. Shoppers will also buy£65 million worth of chocolate, with assortment boxes being the most popular.

BRC director-general Stephen Robertson said: “Little more than a fortnight after Valentine’s Day, millions will be with their mums on Sunday. With an early Easter too, three celebration days in quick succession present a supply and restocking challenge for retailers as they try and keep up with whether customers want hearts, rabbits, roses, pot plants or chocolate eggs.”

According to data from Nielsen, covering supermarkets and convenience stores, more greeting cards and cut flowers are sold for Mothering Sunday than for Valentine’s Day, with 8 per cent of annual sales of flowers made in the two weeks leading up to Mother’s Day.

Nielsen senior manager of retailer services said: “With purse strings tight, competition will be even tougher this year. There will be some good deals for customers wanting to make their mothers feel special.”

Mothering Sunday is this Sunday, March 2.